Do you get depressed during the dark days of late fall and winter? If so, you might be at risk for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Also known as seasonal depression, this condition can cause depleted energy and persistent feelings of sadness, as well as difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite and oversleeping. Typically, the signs of seasonal depression start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses and the daylight lessens. The good news is there are steps you can take to combat this seasonal condition. Read on for tips from Social Worker Eron Kellerman.
- Get more sunlight. While it can be tempting to cozy up inside during the colder months, soaking up as much sun as possible can boost your mood. Go for a walk outdoors, open your blinds or consider using light therapy. Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D which can also improve energy levels. If you’re not getting enough sunlight, you may benefit from a vitamin D supplement.
- Exercise regularly. While exercise is obviously important to your physical health, most people underestimate the positive impact it can have on your mental health. Exercise is a great way to improve your confidence and relieve stress.
- Stay connected. Having a strong support system can provide a sympathetic ear, a fresh perspective or a good laugh – all of which are important to managing the effects of stress and depression.
- Seek professional help. While it’s normal to have a day here and there when you feel down, it’s important to see a healthcare provider if you feel this way for days at a time and can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy. Your provider can help you determine whether you might benefit from prescription medications or therapy. For a list of MMH’s primary care providers, visit Find a Doc.